It's been a bad year for hurricanes, and we're only a little over halfway through with the season. Five of these storms have slammed ashore this summer so far, claiming hundreds of lives and leaving behind unfathomable damage. In some areas, recovery could easily take decades. This marathon of intense hurricanes is a pretty big change from the last couple of years, which brought relatively unremarkable storm seasons. What is it about 2017 that's so different from years past?
In an unprecedented turn of weather events, there are three major hurricanes sitting in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico currently, known as Hurricanes Irma, Katia and Jose. The three sprung up just after Hurricane Harvey brought destruction to Texas. Before even making landfall, Irma was making history. The storm brought destruction to the islands and broke the record for highest sustained winds for the longest period of time with winds more than 185 miles per hour for more than 24 hours. Irma actually kept up these speeds for 37 hours.
Hurricane Irma made another powerful landfall near Naples today after inundating the Florida Keys early this morning. The Category 3 storm is now on a havoc-filled trajectory up Florida's Gulf Coast Tampa and St. Petersburg were forecast to be clobbered later Sunday Two law-enforcement officials died after a head-on crash It made landfall on the Keys around 9 a.m., with top sustained winds of 130 mph An estimated 800,000 are without power in Florida; nearly 6.5 million people have been told to evacuate Irma has devastated several Caribbean islands, with at least 24 dead Irma clobbered Cuba, flooding Havana See Times photos from Hurricane Irma Watch video of the wind and waves on Miami Beach Full Hurricane Irma coverage The Category 3 storm is now on a havoc-filled trajectory up Florida's Gulf Coast Tampa and St. Petersburg were forecast to be clobbered later Sunday It made landfall on the Keys around 9 a.m., with top sustained winds of 130 mph An estimated 800,000 are without power in Florida; nearly 6.5 million people have been told to evacuate
To be fair, it would be difficult to design a scale that encapsulates every threat in one number. Some hurricanes boast high-speed winds. Others churn out massive storm surges. Columbia University atmospheric scientist Adam Sobel believes experts should warn the public about the specific hazards associated with any individual hurricane rather than offering up a single number. This debate will likely heat up in the years ahead.